Sunday 18 August 2019

'His hugs were legendary' - tributes paid to murder victim John Pender at celebration of his life in Dublin

The hearse carring the remains of John Pender leaves Killiney Castle Hotel, centre, John Pender, left inset, and the booklet at his service, right inset. Picture: Frank McGrath
The hearse carring the remains of John Pender leaves Killiney Castle Hotel, centre, John Pender, left inset, and the booklet at his service, right inset. Picture: Frank McGrath
The booklet at the celebration of the life of John Pender ceremony in Killiney Castle. Picture: Frank McGrath
Mourners appalud as the remains of John Pender are carried from Killiney Castle Hotel at the celebration of the life of John Pender ceremony in Killiney Castle. Picture: Frank McGrath
The hearse carrying the remains of John Pender leaves Killiney Castle Hotel at the celebration of the life of John Pender ceremony in Killiney Castle. Picture: Frank McGrath
The hearse carrying the remains of John Pender leaves Killiney Castle Hotel at the celebration of the life of John Pender ceremony in Killiney Castle. Picture: Frank McGrath

Alan O'Keeffe

Poignant tributes were paid to murder victim John Pender at a celebration of his life held in a hotel ballroom today.

The remains of the Dublin father-of-two were brought to the ballroom of Fitzpatrick's Castle Hotel in Killiney where his life was recalled in words, music and song.

Mr Pender (53) died of stab wounds on June 21 after he was suddenly attacked by a man in the toilets of a pub while on holidays with his family in Spain.

Mr Pender, originally from Deansgrange in Dublin, lived in Shankill,, County Dublin, with his wife Caroline McGuigan, son Conor (21) and daughter Amy (18).

Mourners appalud as the remains of John Pender are carried from Killiney Castle Hotel at the celebration of the life of John Pender ceremony in Killiney Castle. Picture: Frank McGrath
Mourners appalud as the remains of John Pender are carried from Killiney Castle Hotel at the celebration of the life of John Pender ceremony in Killiney Castle. Picture: Frank McGrath

He was attacked shortly after he had politely asked a man to stop bothering his wife and his friend's partner.

At the event in Killiney today, his hearse was greeted at the hotel by a piper playing a lament. There were large photographs of John on display with posters stating 'A legacy of love, laughter and hope.'

His wife Caroline stated in a written tribute distributed in a booklet at the funeral that her late husband had an "unexplainable capacity to love and serve" which was "a joy to watch and a privilege to experience."

"His hugs were legendary, they were comforting, assuring, even dare I say, healing.

"Over the past days John's investment of love has been rewarded by the greatest outpouring of love and support for our family," she said.

Speaking to the attendance at the funeral, she said that she and her son Conor and daughter Amy will honour John's memory by accepting his wisdom that it is important to live fully without fear.

The booklet at the celebration of the life of John Pender ceremony in Killiney Castle. Picture: Frank McGrath
The booklet at the celebration of the life of John Pender ceremony in Killiney Castle. Picture: Frank McGrath

"John never feared death....he lived his life without fear," she said.

"Now we intend to live our lives completely and utterly without fear," she said.

She said John was murdered by a coward - by a coward who attacked him from behind.

In her written statement, she declared "The world was shattered by John's passing and what has kept us moving has been the overwhelming love and unselfish support and the comforting words that have been sent our way. It lifts our hearts and shines a light into the darkness and reminds us of something that our family has always know. Love never fails," she said.

The service of remembrance was conducted by Rob Carley who welcomed the large attendance at the event.

Among those to speak at the ceremony were his adult children Conor and Amy, and his brother Stephen.

John's favourite songs were played at the event, including 'Have I told you lately that I loved you' and 'I was only joking' by Rod Stewart. It concluded with the song 'Fix You' by Cold Play.

The service of celebration was followed by cremation at Mount Jerome Cemetery in Dublin.

Mr Pender was an acupuncturist who also assisted his wife Caroline in her work as chief executive of the charity 'Suicide or Survive.'

 

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